The Great Indian eCommerce Sites

Standard

Yesterday I was browsing for Mac Mini as that seemed like a good value for money option compared to iMac. Since I am an Amazon loyalist so I first went to Amazon where it was listed at Rs. 36,391/- with a MRP of Rs. 36.990/- as shown in the pic below.

Mac Mini Price in Amazon

Price on Amazon was very much what I anticipated but still I thought I’ll take a look at what others are quoting for this item so I opened Flipkart. On Flipkart, the same product was listed at Rs. 41,500/-. There was no MRP specified so it’s safe to assume that the MRP of the product, as per Flipkart, was at least the price at which it was being offered, i.e. Rs. 41,500/-.

Mac Mini Price in Flipkart

But wait, wasn’t the MRP on Amazon for the same product was less? Yes, it was. Rs. 36.990/- to be exact. Confused? This is nothing. Read on.

Next, I went to Snapdeal and searched for the same product and here is what I saw.

Mac Mini Price in Snapdeal

So Snapdeal was offering the product at Rs. 37,997/- (better than Flipkart) but hey, what’s that MRP? On Snapdeal, MRP was mentioned as Rs. 40,900/-.

Now this means that the MRP listed on both Amazon and Snapdeal for the product was less than the price at which Flipkart was offering the product. How’s the possible? It essentially means that Flipkart is selling the product at higher than MRP. Remember there was no MRP specified on Flipkart.

Another question is how come the MRP itself is different on different sites? There is a possibility that even though the model is same, some sites have older or newer stock resulting in the difference in MRP but I didn’t find any such difference from the product description and specifications though it may not have been specified anywhere.

Anyhow I didn’t stop there and searched for the product on Google and came across this listing on Vijay Sales which is a large (primarily offline) retailer of electronics and appliances. And guess what? The MRP specified, as shown below, was again different though it was very close to the MRP on Snapdeal. On Vijay Sales, the MRP was Rs. 40,990/- (Rs. 90/- more than Snapdeal).

Mac Mini Price in Vijay Sales

Now how it is possible that the MRP of same product is different on 4 different sites? It makes me think that there is something fundamentally wrong the way these sites are displaying the MRP, discounts and price. One primary reason is clearly to show higher (than actual) MRP and low offer price to come up with a higher percentage of discount. After all, a 20% discount looks better than 5% discount if you’re not comparing the final offer price on multiple sites.

For a moment, I wanted to keep going and checking out the price and MRP of the product on some other (smaller) sites but then I remembered I had better things to do 🙂

So here are my takeaways from this.

  • Amazon seems to be the best option as I have generally found. It was offering the product at lowest price and least MRP. (Yay! My trust in Amazon isn’t broken with this discovery)
  • Flipkart comes across as shady as the price is highest among all 4 sites and there is no MRP shown. If you compare, the price of Flipkart is higher than the MRP mentioned on all other sites. You don’t have to be Einstein to understand what that means. My advice – stay away!!
  • I have generally found that the price difference between Amazon and Snapdeal is the least and a few times, I have found products on Snapdeal cheaper compared to Amazon so I usually check the price on both Amazon and Snapdeal before I buy something. Probably you should too if you’re not doing it already.
  • Finally, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way Indian ecommerce sites are manipulating the prices, discounts and even MRPs to increase their sales though I am not sure if they’re succeeding. An average Indian online buyer is intelligent enough to see through such manipulations.

NOTE: The screenshots were taken on 27th June (2016) evening so the prices may have changed now.

Even Amazon can goof up newsletters

Standard

Today I received a newsletter from Amazon about free global shipping on orders above $125 USD. Like any typical e-commerce site newsletter, it had plenty of links. Incidentally I clicked on a specific banner link in the newsletter and to my surprise (you don’t expect companies like Amazon to goof up such things), it landed on a 404 page with address not found error.

Here is the newsletter with banner highlighted on which I clicked.

Amazon newsletter link going to page not found error

And here is the page where I landed after clicking the link.

amazon newsletter link not workingNo big deal. Most of the e-commerce companies are notoriously (in)famous, specially in India, when it comes to email marketing. I receive newsletters from most of Indian popular e-commerce sites though I don’t remember subscribing (or registering) on more than half of them. In past, I have had issues where even after unsubscribing, I kept receiving newsletters from fashionandyou.com

Compared to all this, the linking error in Amazon’s newsletter is a very small issue considering most other links in the newsletter work as expected. On a separate note, free shipping on orders above $125 USD is really cool!

What’s going on @Tradus.in??

Standard

UPDATE: After almost a week of posting this, the information shown on the page is still the same (misleading). After the post, Tradus started following me on Twitter. Apparently, they only noticed that someone mentioned them on Twitter but didn’t try hard enough to find out why!

Original post below

I was looking for an affordable Android mobile phone online and one Google search landed me on tradus.in. Check the screenshot below and notice the red boxes highlighted in the screenshot.

Observations

  • There is no link to the seller profile, just plain text styled to look like a link. God only knows the source of ~5 star ratings of these sellers.
  • There are 2 sellers (as per the site) selling this particular phone, GovindElectronic and H S Distributors and both of them have a rating of 4.8, 96% positive feedback and more importantly same number of transactions – 8484.

What’s the probability that 2 sellers are selling the same product and having identical number of transactions over a period of 12 months and exactly same feedback response and ratings. Further, there is no link to seller profiles to verify the genuineness of ratings? Statistically speaking, that’s very much unlikely and the information provided is false and misguiding.

I am not sure how many users actually believe in the information shown without verifying it but it might still be working for them which is why they are showing false (or should I say source-less) information despite being a significant player in Indian e-commerce arena.

Well, next time when you research for something online, make sure you leave no loose ends. Good luck!